Monday, March 21, 2011

Cottage Mentality or Tent Mentality?


Genesis 13:12-13
12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
Genesis 19:1-3
1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;
2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.
3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.

The Division Between Abraham & Lot
God had greatly blessed Abraham and we know as far as herds and servants are concerned he was very wealthy.  As God blessed Abraham the blessings overflowed on his nephew Lot.  Everything was going well for a time and then a conflict arose between the herdsmen of Abraham and Lot.

Abraham came up with a solution to this problem.  He proposed that they split ways and that Lot could have the first pick of the land.  Lot chose the watered plains in the north, the plains of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Genesis 13:8-11
8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren.
9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.
10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.

God blessed Abraham for his unselfish attitude towards Lot.  God promised Abraham that he would give him whatever his foot walked upon towards the South, West, and East.

Lot Pitched His Tent Towards Sodom
The Bible makes it clear in our text that Lot dwelt in a tent.  Lot started out in a tent.  He pitched his tent towards Sodom.  This means that he did not arrive at Sodom in a day.  It took him weeks, maybe even months to make it there but every day he moved his tent closer and closer to the sin-cursed cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Over time Lot was gradually assimilated into Sodom.

This is what is happening in the Church today.  People are pitching their tents towards this world!  They are not getting there in a day but they are slowly moving in that direction until they wake up one day and realize that they are now more a part of the worldly system than they are of the Kingdom of God.

People in our Churches do not become worldly overnight.  It takes years!  Sometimes it takes several generations for the Church to change!  What one generation achieves in God can be lost in the next generation.  All religious movements are one generation removed from extinction!

The process that saw Lot and his family assimilated into Sodom & Gomorrah took years.  But day-by-day they became more and more comfortable with all of the sin around them until one day it did not bother them any more.

The Bible tells us that lot was vexed by the sin in these cities.

2 Peter 2:7-8
7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
8(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 

It is good to be vexed by sin, but if you remain around sin long enough you will lose even that.  Lot may have been bothered by the sin, but his family easily adapted, and soon they saw nothing wrong with it.  Today there are elders in our churches that are greatly vexed by contemporary Christian music (CCM) but they remain silent.  They youth coming up are not bothered at all by it.  It is time that our elders took a stand on issues such as music, holiness, modesty, the authority of Scripture, doctrine, worship, the prosperity movement, and worldliness in our churches. 

From the Tent to the Cottage
Lot started out in tent.  The tent implies a temporary condition.  A tent is a temporary residence.  It lacks the permanence of a home.  The fact that Lot, and Abraham, lived in a tent made it clear that they were only pilgrims and strangers in this world.

Hebrews 11:9-10
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Lot started out in a tent but by the time we find him in the nineteenth chapter of Genesis he had moved into a house.  I am not saying that having a house is a sin.  God forbid!  But what I am saying is that this reveals that Lot had taken up residence in the most wicked city on earth at that time, Sodom.  Lot had settled down, he had put down some roots, he was now a permanent part of Sodom.

The Sin of Sodom & Gomorrah
The twin cities of Sodom & Gomorrah were the most wicked of all the cities of that day.  Even the names, Sodom & Gomorrah, have come to be words that represent evil of all kinds, especially the sin of homosexuality.

The list of sins that were present in those cities sound like a recounting of today’s newspaper headlines: Homosexuality, lesbianism, fornication, adultery, rape, child-molestation, murder, theft, and every evil thought of mankind were a part of those cities.

Today it is no different.  Catholic priests molest tens of thousands of children and the issue, though reported on briefly, is quickly swept under the rug and forgotten while the Pope is dotted on and admired by Kings and Presidents.

Homosexuality has completely taken over movies, television, and all other forms of the media.  Today it is almost a crime to take a stand against this perversion.

Promiscuity, fornication, adultery, pornography, and thousands of other sexual perversions continue to grow and multiply.  Nothing is sacred anymore. 

Yet with all of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah the Old Testament Prophet Ezekiel gives us the greatest insight into their sin:

Ezekiel 16:49-50
49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

Ezekiel sounds like he is describing America!  Pride?  Prosperity?  Idleness in which to be entertained?  America has more than any other nation on earth.  This wealth has led men to seek more ways to indulge the flesh!  More free time to pursue their sins!  Like Sodom & Gomorrah we stand in danger of fiery judgment!

The Tent Mentality
We in the Church need to have a “Tent Mentality”.  Abraham had this mentality.  He never became comfortable in this world.  Abraham always knew that he was a stranger and a pilgrim.  Abraham always looked for another world.

The Tent Mentality is:

1.      A Mentality that is fixed on a better world- This world is not my home!  I am just passing through!  Our minds must be fixed on the Kingdom of God.  Most in the Church are “To earthly minded to be any heavenly good!”
2.      A Mentality that is established in the Word of God- One cannot be spiritually minded if their mind is not on the Word of God.  If we expect to have the “Tent Mentality” then we must focus on the Word of God.  Like Brother B. H. Clendennen used to say so frequently, “God is not going to speak to you during the halftime of the football game”.
3.      A Mentality that looks to Jesus as the all-in-all- Jesus is the Alpha & Omega, the First & the Last, and the Author & the Finisher of our faith.  We press towards the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  Jesus is the answer to everything!  There was a time that the Church fully understood this.  We did not look to man to rescue us from our problems, but we looked to God.  We did not need a half-way house or the drug-addict.  No!  We knew that Christ is the answer to everything!

The Cottage Mentality
Lot ended up with a “Cottage Mentality”.  He became a citizen of Sodom!   He went even further!  He got entangled in the politics of Sodom!  He became a leader in this wicked city.

Genesis 19:1
And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom:

Lot sat in the gate of the city of Sodom.  This is the place where the city officials presided over the leadership of ancient cities.  Lot became a part of that evil worldly system.

Today we see so-called Christians getting wrapped up in politics and the affairs of this world.  They campaign for political candidates, picket & boycott, write letters to congressmen, volunteer for political parties, and pass out petitions.  Political activism has become the “New Religion” of the American Church.  Instead of praying through in an altar of prayer they kneel before candidates and laws.  My friend, we are part of much greater Kingdom!  In the Kingdom of God everything is pure and holy!

They have the “Cottage Mentality”!  They have taken up residence in Sodom!  They are no longer looking for a heavenly city!  They like the cities here!  Instead of looking for a Heavenly city they are trying to reform Sodom!  The “Cottage Mentality” is worldliness.  The Church is so worldly today.

Taking Up Residence in Sodom
Many of the Church today have taken up the mentality of this world.   They have pulled up the tent and packed it away.  Now they have built themselves a foundation in this world. 

This world is more important to them than the Kingdom of God.  Their job is more important to them than the Church of the Living God.  Their career is more important than the Kingdom of God.  Their promotion is more important than obeying the voice of God.  Their mortgage is more important than the Mission Field.  A new bass boat is more important to them than a new soul in the altar.  A new four-wheeler is more exciting than the Gifts of the Spirit.  Another shotgun, another rifle, a $2000.00 deer lease?  No problem!  But try to get them to give another $100.00 to the building fund.  No way!

Citizens of Sodom!  Denizens of Gomorrah!  They don’t belong in that city that John saw coming down! 

This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through, my treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue, the angels beckon me to heaven’s crystal shore, and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

“Oh Lord you know I have no friend like you.  My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.  I hear the sweetest praise from Heaven’s open door, and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore!” 

“Just a few more weary days and then I’ll fly away to a land where joys shall never end, I’ll fly away.”

“To prepare a mansion Jesus said I’ll go.  If it were not true I would have told you so.  Just a little while to linger here below.  I’m gettin' ready to leave this world.” 

“I’m gettin’ ready to leave this world (of sorrow), I’m gettin’ ready for the gates of pearl.  I’m keeping my record bright, watching both day and night.  I’m gettin’ ready to leave this world.”

“I’ve a home prepared where the saints abide, just over in the Glory-Land.  And I long to be by my Savior’s side, just over in the Glory-Land.”

“I heard about a mansion He has built for me in glory, and I heard about the streets of Gold beyond the crystal sea.  About the angels singing, and the old redemption story and some sweet day I’ll sing up there the song of victory”

“Victory in Jesus, My Savior forever.  He sought me and he bought me with His redeeming blood.  He loved me ere I knew him and all my love is due him.  He plunged me to victory beneath His cleansing flood.”

“When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun.  We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun.”

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